Sunderland vs Arsenal PreviewJake Cooper | 12 Oct 2016
Sunderland vs Arsenal | Saturday 25 October, 2014 | Stadium of Light | Kick off 15.00
Sunderland were utterly embarrassed last weekend, losing 8-0 to Southampton, a scoreline that matched the club’s biggest defeat on record. Gus Poyet’s side will now be desperate to claw back some dignity, if not any points, when they play Arsenal at the Stadium of Light on Saturday.
The Black Cats have offered refunds to fans who travelled to Southampton and witnessed their humiliation, but defender John O’Shea believes the best way to rectify the situation would be to win against Arsenal.
“Three points is the biggest thing we need to give everyone – fans, ourselves and the staff,” he said. “Ultimately, you have to confine that to a one-off.
“Whatever team we were playing this weekend, we need to see what we had been seeing previously – intensity in our play, putting pressure on teams and stopping them playing. Arsenal are a good team, there’ll have spells where they’re going to have the ball.
“But we need to put them under pressure, particularly when they’ve got a few injuries at the back and a midweek Champions League game. Let’s see if we can use that to our advantage.”
Arsenal travel to Sunderland on the back of a 1-2 victory at Anderlecht in which both of their goals were scored in the last two minutes of play.
Anderlecht dominated in the second half and Andy Najar’s 71st-minute goals was well deserved. It was 22-year-old keeper Emiliano Martinez who kept Arsenal from conceding further goals but, as is becoming characteristic of the side this season, the Gunner’s delivered a spectacularly late comeback.
Kieran Gibbs slipped in a goal in the 89th minute after a superb cross from Calum Chambers to equalise and, just over a minute later, substitute Lukas Podolski scrambled another goal past Anderlecht keeper Silvio Proto.
Arsenal have a fairly lengthy injury list right now, including David Ospina, Mesut Ozil, Olivier Giroud and Mathieu Debuchy, but third-choice goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez proved on Wednesday that this isn’t necessarily problematic.
Arsenal have won three of their four away games in the league this season and face a Sunderland side who’ve just had their confidence knocked, so the Gunners will certainly dominate the game.
Last weekend’s result aside, however, Sunderland have been strong in defence this season, only losing two of their eight games so far.
The two teams currently share the highest number of draws in the Premier League so far with five each so another tie will be the most likely result on Saturday.